Archive for Monday, July 13, 2009


Mend outdoor spigot for drip-free faucet

July 13, 2009


If your outdoor water spigot keeps on going after your watering is done, you may be able to repair it rather than replace it.

Step 1: Turn off the water supply to the faucet. Hopefully this can be done from your main water valve inside. If not, you will need a street key to turn off the water at the meter outside.

Step 2: Turn the spigot on to release any water that may still be in the line.

Step 3: For easier access to the packing nut below, remove the faucet handle. Loosen the screw holding the handle in place and pull the handle off from the stem. You may need to slightly twist the handle back and forth while pulling straight out to loosen it.

Step 4: On newer, frost-free spigots, there will be a shaft collar below the faucet handle. Use an adjustable wrench to remove the shaft collar and replace the washer below if necessary. Sometimes simply tightening the shaft collar back onto the stem will stop the faucet drip.

Step 5: Use a crescent wrench to unscrew the packing nut below the faucet handle. Depending on the age and condition of the faucet you may need to spray it with a penetrating lubricant such as PB Blaster. After the lubricant has soaked in, turn the nut counter clockwise until it is completely free from the faucet housing.

Step 6: At this point, the stem should pull free from the housing. Depending on the thickness of your wall and what type of faucet you have, the stem should be between 2 and 12 inches long.

Step 7: At the end of the stem there should be the remains of a flat black washer held in place by a screw. Use more lubricant if necessary to remove the screw and free the washer from the base of the stem.

Step 8: Replace the existing flat washer with a beveled washer of equal size. Beveled washers typically seal better in older faucets than flat washers.

Step 9: If necessary replace the packing below the packing nut with some graphite or Teflon packing string. The chances of finding an exact replacement for the existing packing washer is slim, so graphite packing is an easy and readily available solution.

Step 10: Reassemble the spigot and tighten the packing nut back into place. Replace the handle and turn your water back on.

Once finished, replace the washer in your hose end for a completely drip-free watering experience.


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